Strong reaction against housing growth plans in Norwich area

There has been fierce reaction against the approval of housing growth plans for Norwich and surrounding areas.

The way has been cleared for more than 30,000 homes and 27,000 jobs in the next 15 years after the joint core strategy (JCS) for Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk was deemed sound by government inspectors.

Created by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) - a partnership of Norwich, Broadland, South Norfolk and Norfolk councils and the Broads Authority - it is the basis from which future planning applications will be assessed.

Council bosses say it is vital for future jobs, homes and economic prosperity. But the blueprint also has many critics.

David Hook, from the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: 'It will be a nightmare scenario if this level of development takes place.

'It is going to have an enormous negative impact on the rural landscape, increase light and noise pollution, increase traffic, and swamp settlements.'

Friends of Thorpe Woodlands chairman Lorna Beckett said: 'It is more important than ever to protect wildlife sites which are vital green lungs for people in Norwich and Norfolk.'

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Stephen Heard, from Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB), said councils would still have to listen to people's views.

He said: 'The local councils who make up the GNDP will not be able to ignore the thousands of locals who have signed petitions to express their disapproval of these plans and they will actively have to seek approval of the local community as part of the (planning application) process.'

Inspectors have insisted on contingency plans for if the Northern Distributor Road (NDR) - seen by the GNDP as key to development north-east of Norwich - is not built.

Green Party county councillor Andrew Boswell said people in north east Norwich would not accept 'large housing developments based around a carbon intensive dual carriageway ruining the area forever.'

Broadland district councillor Ben McGilvray, for the Wroxham ward, said there were 'considerable concerns' in the local community about the level of housing planned for the area north-east of Norwich, and about whether necessary infrastructure would be delivered.

Denise Carlo, Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group chairman, said schemes like the NDR were increasingly irrelevant and the action group continued to make the case for a sustainable transport strategy.

But John Fuller, South Norfolk District Council leader, said: 'I am very satisfied our desire to protect Wymondham and Hethersett from the worst excesses of the last government's and developers plans has been found sound and I am especially pleased we have been able to protect the green spaces between all our market towns.'

He added that the much longed-for Long Stratton bypass had also been put on the map.

Mike Burrows, Shaping Norfolk's Future deputy chairman, said the JCS would help deliver more jobs while enhancing quality of life with sustainable growth in housing and services.